Chapter 6

Nalynn's journey took her to many strange places those days, but none so strange as the Inn in Vilnask where she had run into a fellow named Zarn1982. He had told her a bizarre tale - of marriage, betrayal and former guilds once mighty, but now fallen. The encounter had been overwhelming, the story simply too incredible to be believed.

"Marriage, murder?" She nuzzled her beloved Falcon. "Why would that gentleman tell me such a weird story? Isn't it enough that I must constantly be looking over my shoulder for this Riklaun fellow who's menacing me from afar -- and for what reason, I can't begin to fathom. And what of this Braldt creature? Is it possible I could have been wedded to him? If so, why does he not contact me?" The ring glowed brightly, and her headache returned. She sank to her knees in indescribable agony.

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Carnaldave sat in his quiet room going over his notes from the previous day's battle. He had found Riklaun, the traitor. It pained him to do the things he did but the horrible things he saw frightened him. He picked up his quill and began to write in his diary...

Accept my apologizes, there will not be the ultimate suspense in this tale, for the fact I write it here now indicates that I did not die. But when I saw the dead rise before my eyes to renew the attack I wondered if I would ever come to tell this particular tale. The disgusting horror of the scenes that unfolded before me would, if contrived in some kind of stage buffoonery, perhaps, to some not squeamish audience, seem ridiculous and even mad. But the un-natural truth held no humor for me as I began to see a strange glow from within the translucent body of the giant slug.

Not the first thing on my mind as I trailed through tel'ranaemyn was Riklaun. My prayers had revealed that I should focus on the threat posed to Tel' Orn En Coi, and that I could rely on my officers to capture the criminal. So when I sensed his presence I was a little surprised, for the Hills were quiet and the hour was very late, almost early. I had driven away for the moment the dracoliches that inhabited the southern fortress, and was tired and looking for a warm bed to share. But as we esp'd I wondered how I might lure him to me, in order to affect his demise.

Well, Melatura en Amin, she works in very mysterious ways sometimes, but sometimes she is very bold and often rewards us directly, blessed be Our Lady Tel'Ithil may she shine forever. As I approached the fens where the giant slugs lair I heard the sounds of battle. I approached carefully for I heard an elven voice as it cast upon the creatures. Indeed, it was Riklaun himself, engaged with them. He seemed to be fleeing, a wise move for he was in a vulnerable position. I stepped out from my hiding place, and caught him unawares with il N'tess.

The slugs move slowly, but still were able to ooze over Riklaun and engulf him. I could see the look of surprise, then fear as he realized his impending fate at the hands of the slugs. The slug reared over him and dripped slimy acid mucous over and engulfing his head. As it fell upon him with its great quivering slathering mass I heard no scream for he was paralyzed by my magic. But I did hear the double crack of his femurs as the weight of the slug came fully to bear on his slim elven frame. I could see the dark shadow of his body suck into the core, like the evil which worked its way into his own heart.

As I prayed for his future I watched the slug digest his remains. "It has been a very good night" I thought to myself, and I again thanked the Moon for her blessings. At first I thought the glow was only moonshine on the slime of the slug. But as I looked it began to grow and writhe within its foul gut. I prayed a little blessing. The slug began to twitch and squirm in ways I had never seen a slug move before. It looked like an earthworm on a hook as the glow became brighter and I could begin to make out a twisted form within the gelatinous sarcophagus.

I prayed again to Corellon Larethian this time for my very sanity as the eyes of the slug shot out of its soft head and into the brush. The scream of a giant slug as it is torn apart from within is a sound that would seem was never meant to be made in all the plans of all the gods. As the flesh of the slug began to rip and its inner meat extrude I wondered what kind of evil was at work that night. I could now clearly see the form of Riklaun straightening its broken limbs and ripping its way out of the belly of the slug! What un-natural force could will such an abomination! I watched stunned as he stood and challenged me again.

I suppose the sounds of the deaths of the slugs had attracted them, or perhaps the pungent stench of its bowels now spread around the clearing, for we were at that moment attacked by a troop of margoyles and more slugs. We scrambled for position, and I was caught by the edge of some of his magics, and partially slowed. I made for the cover of some trees, and the margoyles swarmed to Riklaun. As he fended them off I was able to cast again, this time I slowed him. I believe he cast a dimension door and escaped, for the margoyles turned to me.

After the horrors I had beheld just moments ago the margoyles seemed like mere animated drawings in a children's game. They were easily dispatched with a couple of fireballs. I searched the area of the battle for hours but found no sign of the criminal Riklaun. This will not end so easily. We must work together to thwart the evil influence which seeks to overtake us. The normal limits of flesh and time have been transcended, and we must respond with supernatural forces of our own. May the light of the Moon and Stars reveal what is hidden, may the strength of Corellon Larethian give us, may the wisdom of our ancestors guide us.

Carnaldave

Captain of the Grey Company

Carnaldave proceeded to memorize the passage so he could call a meeting in the Great hall. This news had to be spread throughout the Grey Company.


Continue to Chapter 7